Also known as a form of dysfluency, stuttering is an interruption in the flow of speech. When children stutter, they’re usually repeating certain phrases, sounds, syllables, and words. Although it’s normal for children between the ages of two and five to stutter, children who stutter past five years old may need special treatment for this language disorder.
The Causes of Stuttering
Many experts believe that there are four primary factors that cause this condition.
- Genetics: Approximately 60 percent of people who stutter have a family member who also has this condition than those without.
- Child Development: Children with other developmental delays and language or dysfluency problems are more susceptible to this condition.
- Neurophysiology: Most children who stutter process language in a different area of the brain than other children. Because of the different way that the brain processes language, such differences in language processing also affects the muscles that control speech.
- Family Dynamics: Children who come from a family with a fast-paced lifestyle are also more likely to stutter.
How You Can Help
As a parent, there are many things that you can do to improve your children’s speaking.
- Help Your Children’s Fluency: Make sure to model good speaking skills by talking to your children slowly and clearly.
- Avoid Challenging Situations: When your children are having difficulty speaking, sometimes you may want to give them a break by suggesting activities that don’t require conversations.
- Give Your Children Undivided Attention: Show your children how much you care by maintaining good eye contact when they’re talking. Make sure that you pause before responding to their comments. Try not to show signs of frustration when they’re talking to you.
- Reduce The Urge To Criticize: Well-intended phrases like “take your time,” “slow down,” and “remember to breathe” will only discourage your children and make them feel self-conscious. Instead of interrupting to correct or criticize, encourage your children to finish their thoughts.
- Create A Soothing Home Environment: In a calm atmosphere, your children will feel more comfortable speaking. During family dinners, eliminate distractions like the radio and television so that your children can participate in fun and enjoyable conversation.
- Offer Your Children Grace: Speaking precisely and correctly shouldn’t always be a requirement. Resist the urge to interrupt your children or to tell them to start their sentences over. Avoid telling them to think before speaking.
If you notice the following patterns in your child’s speech, it may be a sign that you should have them evaluated:
- Conversations that are extremely difficult or strained
- A gradual increase in syllable, sound, phrases, and whole words repetitions
- Vocal tension that causes a noticeably loud pitch while talking
- Repetition of words that is accompanied with facial and body movements
- The condition continues after your child has turned five years old
⚠ If these symptoms continue after your child had turned five years old, it’s especially important that you meet with a speech-language pathologist. ⚠
Trust Our Professionals To Help Your Child!
If you’re concerned about your child’s stuttering, please schedule a consultation at the Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center as soon as possible! For children who have severe language problems, early evaluation and treatment is extremely critical.
Although there’s currently not a cure for stuttering, there are many great treatments available that can help your child overcome the condition.